From ice storms to heat waves, Horned Frogs share their recollections of the wild, wacky and weird
by TCU Magazine readers
In 1949, flood waters made boat travel down 7th Street a reality. (Photos from UTA Special Collections and TCU yearbook)
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by TCU Magazine readers
The worst flood in the history of Fort Worth occurred May 17, 1949. I was a senior at TCU that year. I remember clearly on the night of May 16, I had a date with fellow classmate, Jim Harben. He brought me home, and when he left my house, the downpour of rain had caused his car to stall. He had to spend the night at my family’s home, and the next day had to borrow a pair of my blue jeans to wear as his clothes had been soaked when he tried to start his car the night before. A foot of rain had been dumped on the city through the night. The following day, May 17, the Clear Fork of the Trinity River broke through its levees and spilled floodwaters into Fort Worth’s business, industrial and residential districts. Due to the flood, the city water supply was cut off for four days, power lines left some homes without lights, highways were blocked, and traffic was snarled. Ten people were killed and damage was estimated to exceed $11 million. Goode Hall, where journalism classes were held in the basement, flooded.
Betty C. Hammack McCann ’49
The flood of May 17, 1949. Finals approaching and no running water! I was a freshman living in Jarvis. Large oil drums of water were trucked in to the dorms for flushing toilets. A group of girls in Jarvis rented a room at a downtown hotel (Westbrook, I think). We made a schedule so each girl could have a shower and wash her hair.
Barbara Hill Enochs ’52
I volunteered with the American Red Cross to help during the flood of 1949. I rode on a boat down 7th Street and helped serve donuts and coffee to the rescue workers who were helping residents in the rising waters at the intersection of 7th Street, University Drive, Camp Bowie Boulevard and Bailey Avenue. During the flood, the water was cut off at TCU. I was a town student, and since my home still had running water, I invited several of my friends who lived in the TCU dorms to my home to take baths and enjoy the home-cooked food my mother prepared.
Berry Rowland ’52
In the spring of 1949, Fort Worth suffered a big, big flood. On 7th St., the water was up to the second floor of the Montgomery Ward building. We had no water at TCU for several weeks. We bathed in the creek near the golf course.
William L. Hill ’53
The ice storm and flood of 1949. During my freshman year, when the ice covered Stadium Drive in January, I eased my 1929 Model A out of the Barracks Z parking lot onto Stadium Drive and since I was the only one out there, had a ball sliding and spinning on the ice. That gave a whole new meaning to taking that jalopy “out for a spin.” Then, in May, torrential rains caused the Trinity to flood and there was no way to get home in Haltom City for days.
Dick Ramsey ’52
Women were not allowed on campus with pants when
I went to TCU. We had an ice storm; that day they let us wear pants. I had a pair of ski pants that I wore, so fun. However, the zipper got stuck and the only way out was to cut open my good ski pants. I will never forget that fun and
Sherry Bush Smith ’68
Spring of 1957, a tornado hit Dallas near Harry Hines Blvd., and caused significant damage, I owned an open cockpit PT 22 at Spinks Airport south of TCU. Med student (and later best man) Roger Jutras and I flew over to view the damage.
Herb Paul ’60
It seems snow was more common in the ‘70s. I recall sitting in old Amon Carter in the snow (me and 5 others, maybe) to see if the Frogs would score on Texas. Nope, 58-0, when the clock hit 00. I distinctly recall our northern students laughing at our snows. To put an emphasis on this, John Motsch of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, made a point to drive his ’68 Malibu convertible(The Blue Bomb) with top down during a fairly substantial snow! (It’s -3 here in Indy today!)
Robert Fillman ’74
Two days of school cancelled due to ice right at the beginning of second semester. This also happened to be during Sigma Chi initiation of Hell Week. As a pledge this was less than optimal.
Jim Mosby ’88
Pheeeew! Heat wave of 1980, August. Sorority rush. 42 days of 100 degrees. The biggest heat wave in the area’s history, and girls going through rush trying to look polished, put together, poised, and not sweaty (or glowing). Flat awful hair, melted makeup and perspiration stains under our arms. We endured! I got a bid from my sorority of choice – Delta Gamma. What a vivid memory.
Kathy Sue Stark Hopper ’84
In the spring of 1959, Delores ’57 and I lived in a little white house on Princeton Street right behind Robert Carr Chapel. Our landlady was Artie Bryson, a member of the English department and founder of the Bryson Club. As we were walking back from the music building, we could hear a heavy rain coming, so we started running. But too late – we arrived home laughing and thoroughly soaked.
Don Vann ’59
When I came to TCU from Iowa, I was hoping to get away from snow and ice. I soon discovered that Fort Worth had ice in the winter. During my sophomore year we had snow. This delighted many of the students, causing an excuse to exhibit nontraditional antics. It was interesting to watch students grabbing cafeteria trays so that they could slide down the small terraces on campus, to listen to the boys standing outside the girls dorm hollering “panty raid,” and to observe the dorm mother switching the lights off and on. My roommate went out to class in the snow. When she returned, I thought I would have to thaw her out.
Lorraine Rossean Moon ’65
I remember one cold snowy day when classrooms must have been almost empty. Students were too busy having snowball fights and building snowmen . . . or snow women.
Bill Wiesehahn ’53
In 1974, it snowed 4-6 inches (can’t remember the date). Classes were called off and we took plastic trays from the cafeteria (on Greek Hill) and used them for sleds. No stores in Fort Worth had sleds. Great fun!!
Jennifer Chrisman Moore Kennally ’75
Heavy rain in the spring of 1966 made the lake behind the Delt dorm flood to look like a river flowing into it. I also remember ice-skating on University Drive that winter because the whole city was shut down due to an ice storm.
James Grabau ’68
It was my sophomore year, I believe, living in the Sigma Chi House. I went to the Greek cafeteria with two frat brothers, and, first time ever, west of TCU – like right behind the cafeteria, but likely a couple miles away, I see a perfectly formed tornado bearing down on us. It was not even raining. I remember looking at it and thinking, “No big deal.” I went inside and had lunch. We were fearless and in our own world back then. Geez, “No big deal” — nothing happened.
Thomas Brian Carney ’78
My freshman year (2008), it was around mid-February. The day before the weather had been mid-50s and that day it was 20 degrees with really strong winds. I had an 8 a.m. class and I think I cried the whole way due to the strong wind. A 30- to 40-degree drop in one day! I live in Ohio now and laugh when people comment on how the weather here is unpredictable.
Tara M. Allen ’12
January 1973 registration was delayed a week due to snow. After driving down from Tulsa on ice, it was easy to provide rides to our receptionist so she could come to work (and so the RAs didn’t have to man the phones). Parents were pulling their kids around the quad on skis behind their cars.
Janet King Johnson ’73
During the spring of our junior year (1966), a speaker came to TCU who proclaimed, “God was dead.” About 30 minutes later, a torrential rainfall hit and flooded the whole campus. We were all told to stay in the dorm. About 6 o’clock, our dorm mother said we could wade to the cafeteria to eat dinner. That was the evening my husband and I met 48 years ago.
Martha ’67 and Mike Fostel ’67
In my four years at TCU, it only snowed twice. In 1968, there was a significant snowstorm that cancelled classes. Enterprising “skiers” requisitioned trays from the cafeterias and slalomed down the “mountain” side of the stadium. In the spring of 1967 a tornado roared through Fort Worth, and electricity was lost by thousands. I was caught in the Colby elevator for several hours.
Patty Lake Cady ’70
The “Great Snow Storm” paralyzed the Metroplex around January or February of 1964. Twelve to 16 inches fell in about 18 hours.
Benjamin H. Preston ’66
Semester break came with a Texas norther in 1949. Roads were impassable and buses weren’t running. But I had a date back home in Breckenridge, and I was determined to get there. So I took the train to Cisco – or maybe it was Ranger —arriving at 2 a.m. A lone taxi took me to a hotel where I checked in. I had to call my dad to come get me the next day – I couldn’t pay my bill. But I kept my date!
Marie Davis Otto ’51
My memory is from when I worked on campus after graduating. On March 28, 2000, I was in the Amon Carter Stadium press box when the devastating F2 tornado ripped along I-30 towards Dallas. It was the most frightening and exciting moment I had ever witnessed. If it had changed directions I would have gone, but at least I would go in my favorite place in the world! Go Frogs!
Terra Nuss ’98
Final exams, January 1964. Ice and snow, no trays left in any meal hall. Everyone out on the golf course. I had just moved from Connecticut and my family had sleds in the garage in Edgecliff Village. So, guess who had one of the only real sleds during that storm?
I was living off campus, two miles away from the Rickel Center. I rode my bike there to play handball on a warm February day (75 degrees), not knowing that a big cold front was about to blow in. After playing for a couple of hours and showering, I went outside and it was in the high 30s with a stiff wind blowing! Needless to say, I had a very fast memorable bike ride home in my shorts and T-shirt.
Gus Duryea ’73
I was a new student to TCU my sophomore year of college. Shortly after my marriage in the summer of 1957, I enrolled at TCU. A few weeks prior to the start of school, I broke my foot in an accident. In 1957 there were no accommodations for people with handicaps (as on crutches). There was not even a hand railing going to the second floor of the Ad Building. Not only that, there was no air-conditioning. Sliding up the wall with crutches to my class, then sitting in an English class in the heat was grueling. Before graduation in 1960, there was in the Ed Building.
Carolyn Anne Kerr ’60
The extreme heat and humidity in August during the dorm move-in process. I came to TCU from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and had never in my life experienced a Texas summer. Ughhh! And hello, Texas!
Sharon Hutchison Leslie ’85
My first day of class, my freshman year, was a true fashion roller coaster.w My first class (at 8 a.m.) was in Sid Richardson, and I lived in “the Greek” (Wiggins Hall), so I knew I needed to catch the shuttle. In my cutest skirt and tank, I walked out of the dorm, and missed the shuttle. Sweating, I made it to class. When leaving Sid Rich, it was raining cats and dogs, and I missed the shuttle. For my 12:30, I wore my raincoat and boots to class. Upon exiting my class, it was 58 degrees. What a day it was!
Bernette Blake ’06
Don’t recall the year but I remember an April snow of 7 or 8 inches.
Edwin Farrar ’63
Rain in September. I would leave Shirley dorm and walk all the way to the Business department, and my poor suede loafers were finally ruined. Many days of this off and on. Finally, I just used my “rain” loafers from then on when it was pouring rain.
Carole Ann Fleming ’63
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